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New leader raises hopes of end to bloodshed in Central Africa

Published on Jan 22, 2014 6:34 AM
 
The newly elected transitional President of the Central African Republic Catherine Samba-Panza gives a press conference on Jan 21, 2014 in Bangui. The Central African Republic's new leader pledged on Tuesday, Jan 21, 2014, to choose her Cabinet based on skills rather than religion as she sought to end months of Christian-Muslim bloodshed. -- PHOTO: AFP

BANGUI, Central African Republic (AFP) - The Central African Republic's new leader pledged on Tuesday, Jan 21, 2014, to choose her Cabinet based on skills rather than religion as she sought to end months of Christian-Muslim bloodshed.

A day after Ms Catherine Samba-Panza, the mayor of the capital Bangui, was elected interim president by the transitional Parliament, residents said the city was unusually calm, apart from isolated acts of looting by gangs of youths.

But troops from an African Union-backed military mission found a dozen bodies in a grave just north of Bangui, a haunting reminder of the inter-religious killings that erupted after the mostly Muslim rebel group Seleka overthrew the government in March last year.

Since the crisis broke out, Red Cross workers have found bodies on an almost regular basis in and around Bangui, though the security situation has been improving since France launched a military deployment to its former colony a month and a half ago.

 
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